Vedan compensation to reach Dong Nai farmers by Tet

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Compensation from Taiwanese river polluter Vedan Vietnam will be delivered to affected residents in Dong Nai Province by Tet, the Lunar New Year festival which falls early in February, an official said Saturday.


Ao Van Thinh, vice chairman of the southern province's People's Committee, said the farmers will be compensated based on how many years they have been farming and whether they used intensive or extensive farming.


Fishermen will be paid according to the years they have been fishing, Thinh said.


For the Nhon Trach and Long Thanh districts, where most Dong Nai's affected residents are concentrated, the list of compensation beneficiaries would be completed by the end of this month and the money delivered a week later, barring disagreement from the residents' side.


The monosodium glutamate maker early last month signed an agreement to pay nearly VND120 billion (US$6.1 million) to affected farmers in Dong Nai.


Half of the compensation would be paid within seven days after the agreement's signing, and the rest by January 14, 2011.


In return, all the 5,034 affected farmers have agreed to drop lawsuits against the company, according to the Dong Nai Farmers' Association.


In October, Vedan signed similar agreements with farmers in the southern province of Ba Ria Vung Tau and Ho Chi Minh City for compensation worth VND53.6 billion (S$2.8 million) and VND45.7 billion (US$2.39 million) respectively.


The company was caught in 2008 discharging untreated effluents directly into the Thi Vai River through secret underground pipes.


Government inspectors found that the company had been dumping 105 million liters of untreated wastewater a month into the river for 14 years.


It attracted further criticism as it continued to deny the extent of its culpability as well as compensation it owed to affected residents, until its products began being boycotted by major retailers like the Saigon Co-op and Big C supermarket chains early in August.


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